English Poem The Vanishing Village by R. S. Thomas Important Questions
Question No 1. The poem “Vanishing Village” by R. S. Thomas ends at a hopeful note – do you agree?
Ans. The poem “The Vanishing Village” by R. S. Thomas is a sad poem. But it ends at a hopeful note. When we start reading the poem, we begin being influenced by the sad, graphic picture of the disappearing village. We feel sad at the picture of one street, a few houses, one inn and one shop. The street leads to the top of the hill and then comes to an end. Such a deserted picture makes us unhappy and sad at heart. Then we are told by the poet about the overgrowth on the sides of the street/way and it increases the effect of wilderness in our heart. Later, we are told about the old black dog who is “cracking his fleas in the hot sun” and we become more uneasy in our minds. That dog is the “history” – it is a tragic and sad remark. The scene creates pathos and sympathy in us.
But here the gloomy picture comes to an end and a turn comes in the poem – a turn that gives a ray of hope in the darkness of vanishing village. The poet shows us this ray of hope in the words:
… Yet the girl who crosses
From door to door moves to a scale
Beyond the bland day’s two dimensions (lines 11-30)
The word “yet” and “beyond” fill the atmosphere with optimism. The girl goes from one door to another door and she becomes a symbol of future. She is not static. She is moving. She is a three-dimensional figure. She has a soul, a spirit in her. She has a future in her, too. She becomes the guarantee of the “presence” of a future, and a better future, for the vanishing village. So we see that the poem ends at a hopeful note.
Questions No 2. Read the poem carefully. Do you share the sad feelings of the poet about the vanishing village?
Ans. Yes, we share the sad feelings of the poet about the vanishing village. Village has a key-role in the life of a country. Village supplies food-grains and other raw-materials for the people of a country of the world. So if a village is being deserted, it shows that man is going to city and city cannot grow food-grains and raw-materials. Village is a basic essential unit of human civilization/population. Naturally when we see the picture of vanishing village in words as “painted” by the poet, we cannot help feeling sad and gloomy at the hard luck of the village. So we share the feelings of sadness shown by the poet about the vanishing/disappearing village.
Question No 3. Write a critical analysis of the poem showing how far the pet has been effective in communication of his ideas. Or Write Critical Analysis of the poem.
Ans. The poet presents a gloomy picture of a village which has been a victim of neglect. Perhaps the majority of persons has gone to cities and life in the deserted village has come almost to a standstill. Still there is an undercurrent of life present which guarantees the better future for the village. The poet has written an elegy of the deserted village with a hope for the betterment in its condition. He wishes to gain our consideration and sympathy by the sad graphic picture of the village and he is successful in getting our full attention.
The subject of the poem is related with human life and its mechanical progress. Landscape has been painted in a very realistic manner. The poem makes us remember the poem “The Deserted Village” by Oliver Goldsmith. Goldsmith has been more nostalgic than R. S. Thomas in his memory of sweet Auburn (the name of his village). But Thomas is more witty, brief and epigrammatic in this poem. The theme has been presented in a very serious and objective manner. We may mark the objectivity of such lines as:
” … leads nowhere and fails at the top” (line 4)
and ” … the black dog
Cracking his fleas in the hot sun
Is history.” (lines 9-11)
and ” … the girl who crosses
From door to door … ” (lines 11-12)
Words used in the poem are full of sentiments and passions. The poem is a good lyric having normally 4 feet with two syllables each. But here and there we come across innovations and variations in the meter and rhythm. There is no rhyme except in line 3 and 4 that have “shop” and “top” as rhyming words – may be it is a chance! The division of stanzas is not balanced according to the number of lines but according to the treatment of subject-matter. Reference to Plato in the last lines turns the whole poem into a thought-provoking appeal to the reader. The vocabulary of the poem is simple and direct. The lines are often run-on ones with a lot of enjambment that gives a sort of word-picture of destruction of the village. The poet has been fully effective in the communication of his ideas.